The artist Gustav Metzger died on March 1st, an artist whose influence spanned many forms of culture and activism. He was central to the development of ‘Auto Destructive Art’ a conceptual practice that led to the ‘Destruction in Art’ symposium in 1966 attended by Yoko Ono among others. His influence through teaching at Ipswich and Ealing School of Art inspired Pete Townsend of the Who along with many other cultural icons of the 60s and 70s.
In recent years he had focused his attention on the environmental impact of humans on the planet through his works, discussions and conferences. His art had a central concern with effecting change within political and social contexts, testing the boundaries of art as an instrument of revolution in thinking and action.
Amongst one of the last activist events he initiated was the ‘Facing Extinction’ conference held in 2015 at UCA Farnham in collaboration with Andrea Gregson and the Fine Art team between 2013 – 15 after a meeting following a visit to Farnham in 2013. The conference included contributions from Ellie Harrison, Yoko Ono, Ackroyd and Harvey, Assemble, Polly Highins and Peter Kennard and was also subsequently webcast across the globe. We also helped realise the accompanying project ‘Remember Nature’.
The conference in 2014 and its aftermath were extended by prestigious satellite events at The Serpentine Gallery and UCA Canterbury Campus. But it was the support and and collaboration by the Fine Art team at Farnham that made the ‘Facing Extinction’ event a reality.